Hamas arrests 5 suspects in raid on PA television offices in Gaza
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Hamas arrests 5 suspects in raid on PA television offices in Gaza

Terror group says perpetrators are former Palestinian Authority employees whose salaries were recently suspended

An employee of the Palestinian Authority-run radio and television stations inspects the damage at one of the studios on January 4, 2019, after armed men reportedly raided the building in Gaza City. (Said Khatib/AFP)
An employee of the Palestinian Authority-run radio and television stations inspects the damage at one of the studios on January 4, 2019, after armed men reportedly raided the building in Gaza City. (Said Khatib/AFP)

Authorities in the Gaza Strip arrested five men on Saturday on suspicion that they trashed the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority’s television station in the territory a day earlier, the Hamas-run interior ministry said.

It said the five were former PA employees whose salaries were recently suspended.

The PA, which on Friday had blamed Hamas for the incident, did not immediately comment on the arrests.

The raid on the offices of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation in Gaza City was conducted by armed men, who caused damage to equipment, according to station staff quoted by the official PA news agency Wafa.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the incident.

The Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation is funded by the West Bank-based PA, which has a longstanding dispute with the Hamas terror group, and the building houses offices for Palestine TV and the Voice of Palestine radio station.

During the raid, workers were assaulted and equipment destroyed, Wafa reported.

“At least five people broke into the building, broke the radio door and completely destroyed the main studio, including cameras, equipment, furniture and broadcasting equipment,” a staffer at the radio station said.

An employee of the Palestinian Authority-run radio and television stations inspects the damage at one of the studios on January 4, 2019, after armed men reportedly raided the building in Gaza City. (Said Khatib/AFP)

AFP correspondents at the scene found a number of video cameras and computers badly damaged, with chairs and doors destroyed.

“We hold the Hamas authorities fully responsible for this crime of breaking into the headquarters and destroying them,” Ahmed Assaf, the PA general supervisor for official media, said in a statement Friday. “This is an attack against our people in Gaza.”

Salameh Maarouf, director of the Hamas-run media office, said in a statement Friday that it condemned the “unacceptable behavior.”

Hamas seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority in a 2007 near-civil war, and multiple attempts at reconciliation have failed.

Palestine TV stopped working completely following the 2007 seizure, resuming work partially in 2011.

Separately on Saturday evening, five people were injured in an explosion in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, the Hamas-run health ministry said.

Local media reported the blast emanated from the home of Mohammed Talal Al-Ajani, the Rafah Brigade commander of the Popular Resistance Committees, a Gaza terror group. The explosion, apparently triggered by explosives, was said to have caused a fire and damage to neighboring buildings.

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